Anyone out there have friends who send you emails to justify their position and belief system? Trying to convince you, you of the opposite ilk, to come over to their side of the coin?

I do… And feel free to share your own experiences as comments on this post. Since I suppose I am a part of the ‘silent majority’ per se, and one that speaks out more often than not, with opinions I have formed from my research and investigation, I have certain pals that occasionally and consistently, mind you, send me emails with assorted links of videos & snail mails even – with articles cut out, highlighted and personal notes stating their opinions.

To me, this is the healthiest of activities, and one aspect of what life is all about. If I have an opinion and have held it all my life, and something new comes up to refute that, I am happy to hear any new knowledge with an open mind. And in the United States today, I believe we need much more of this honest, truthful and factual dialogue, minus the hidden agenda and preconceived prejudices.

One of my most recent creations... based upon a scene I witnessed in Wicker Park 2 summers ago.

Two examples – and I’ll lead with one that is cultural and really pretty hilarious, because this particular pal o’ mine, whom I have genuine affection for, not only hammers me on a regular basis for just about everything I think & believe, but is also very good-natured about it as well. I recently completed a painting I call ‘People – an Homage to Hopper.

Self Promotion aside, I like Hopper… he has his shortcomings, his human side, flaws… but he did what he loved and stuck to it besides the pressures from the art world at that time.

Needless to say, my nameless pal sends me this email with this link, paraphrasing it down to a PG-13 language:

edward hopper sucks…: peace and love,  anonymous pal

Of course I followed the link to a pretty nice website and read the opinion article – very well written. The ‘Main Jist’ of the article is that Hopper was kind of dim so to speak, and that he bumbled his way to painting the way he does simply by being a dim-witted dolt with some sort of idiot savant talent, with this painting as the example, called ‘Soir Bleu’.

Morgan Meis questions if Hopper even knows why he painted this Paris scene, called ‘Soir Bleu’

The article questioned some things I really had never thought about, with a very sharp, critical eye… but with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor as well… as to the “Why” of Hopper’s subject matter. Keeping it short, I was always under the impression that Hopper’s driving force was the capturing of the Aloneness, the Isolation of Modern Man, even in the mist of crowded, urban settings. This inability to communicate with others probably reflected about how Hopper felt about his feelings towards society as well… hence the introverted attitude towards the subjects he chose to paint.

I read somewhere that when Hopper went to visit New Mexico and work, instead of being influenced by the sweeping vistas and awesome scenery, Hopper was content to find an old abandoned rail car and paint that. And in searching for that info, I ran across this Hopper quote: ‘Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.’ Edward Hopper

So maybe according to Morgan Meis entertaining essay, over at ‘the Smart Set,’ Hopper on a certain level kind of sucks… maybe Hopper thought he sucked too, and painted the way he felt.

Here’s my written response to my anonymous pal:

Meh – what’s your point… maybe Hopper wasn’t the best technical painter per se, but he still had his niche and was, in retrospect, a master at his craft when it is all said and done.

Hopper captured a mood, and essentially photo-copied it for public consumption before photocopies existed. Maybe he should have tried photography, saved himself some time and energy. But you have to hold his paintings in the context of the times he existed, and appreciate them for what they are. It takes a village… and if everyone painted the same, hip, avant garde way, well, then why exist at all?

Take any TV or movie from the 40-50’s – popular and beloved at the time, now the vast majority of them are tired, cliche, and almost unwatchable by our “sensory-numbified” population today. But there’s TV Land cable channel that capture a decent market share that keeps advertisers paying and the programs on the air… blah blah blah.

A real life example that pertains to our shared reality is when you and I were at that bar right before Xmas a few weeks ago, and that couple came up to our table, handing out free tickets to go see Chuck Berry in concert, and couldn’t give them away – couldn’t PAY people to go see the concert.

That’s nothing against Chuck Berry, or what he accomplished as an artist. He’s just 80+ years old, his fanbase has dwindled… the culture ebbs and flows forward, back, up and down.So -I’d hold Hopper’s “New York Movie” up against anything as a Masterpiece of mood, technique and meaning:

New York Movie, Hopper 1939.

It’s a pretty un-cliché-ish painting to say the least.
That Morgan Mels is a pretty good yarn-spinner. I read a few of his articles – great brain food, especially the last one below. Check em out –

Mels is hard on artists… which, as an Artist myself,  I like… As an artist, I am hard on other artists, especially ones that take a dump on a paper plate and put it on display… and because of where they went to school and their connections are called “Geniuses”.

And I am especially hard on myself and my own art… hence the few works I have produced.

But I’m over that hump for the most part.
piss off hippee –

So that’s one pal not so much trying to change my opinion but rather just trying to ‘Get me Goat’ as my father still says. And it’s opinion on a vital topic – Art.
Now for a bit more serious topic.
Another pal who sends me the majority of these types of  ‘Info Belief Challenges’ really set me aback the other day when I received an email from her about ‘Bankruptcy 101 – the High Cost of Illegal Immigration and why Arizona Did the Right Thing!!’

Briefly, this is one of those emails circulating that I categorize with ‘Obama Birth Certificate’ or ‘Dick Cheney stood down NORAD during 9-11’ – there are fervent believers on either side, and you’re not going to change anyone’s mind by reading these types of emails.
But even before I did a bit of digging, just the whole tone and attitude of this email came off to me like the writer and organizer of the Negative Thought Structure™ behind this type of email is ‘Blame the Brown People, Blame the Poor’. Which, as a proud Liberal Progressive, I abhor… this is my main beef with the whole Tea Party Movement, whites only. Blech.
IMO, ANY policy that is so blatantly obvious of the true motivations behind the United States Immigration policies over the past 30 years, really since the Reagan era, is cheap, unorganized labor, which undercuts and weakens Organized Labor and Unions in general.
Now don’t get me wrong – this is something I know very little about, and I’ll never pretend to know more than I do. I’m just a caveman. But what I do know are these – the reason we have the basic workplace freedoms we in the Western World enjoy – 40 hour work weeks, Weekends, minimal safety and EOE protections are because in most part the history and leadership of Unions.
And Unions only form when there are unfair, unsafe business practices, abuses – business has and will just about ALWAYS try to get away with whatever it can unless they are held accountable. There are exceptions to this, but for the most part, that’s the way it is.
Here’s the way she spun it to me, in her intro paragraph:
A lot of the stuff I get from these organizations I do not forward because they can be hyperbole and propaganda…like listening to Janine Garafalo and Anne Coulter debate each other.  However, since our last discussion focused on corporate welfare…something we both wish was eliminated, I thought you may find these brief bullet points on the cost of illegal immigration interesting.  They give links to verify the stats.  Pretty crazy…

So here are the links and the facts, which I really don’t doubt – I am sure there are some partial exaggerations, but I am sure many of these figures are in the ballpark on costs. AND – all the CNN links to ‘Verify’ go to Page not Found:
1.  $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments.

2.  $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.Verify at:

3.  $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.

Verify at:

4.  $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!

Verify at:

5.  $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.

Verify at

6.  $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.

Verify at: >

7.  30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.

Verify at:

8.  $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.

Verify at:

9.  $200 Billion dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.

Verify at: RI PTS/0604/01/ldt.01.HTML

10.  The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that’s two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US.

Verify  at: http://transcripts.cnn./.com/TRANscriptS/0606/12/ldt..01.HTML

During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana, crossed into the US from the Southern border.

Verify at: Homeland Security Report:

12.  The National policy Institute estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.

Verify  at:

13.  In 2006, illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances to their countries of origin.

Verify at:

14.  The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One million sex crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States.

Verify at: http: //

The total cost is a whopping $338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR OR $338,300,000,000.00


So there’s the Chain email in a knutshell.  My gut tells me that this 300$billion gets sucked into huge corporations that have a vested interest in vacuuming up these Taxpayer dollars – the prison industrial complex, which does exist… weapons manufacturers, those annoying and predatory Check Cashing stores – That right there is a complete and total Parasitic Relationship..! The fact that these ‘Stores’ even exist at all shows you why this country is having the problems it has – preying upon the weak.

Doesn’t this bother anyone?

But I am confused where the money goes in regards to education.

And I want to reiterate I blame no one but the policy makers in regards to all this ‘saber rattling’ in regards scapegoating the poor and minorities. All these hold a small percentage of the blame, but in the big picture and grand scheme, the Powerful, Hidden, Vested Interests have set the system up to their own advantage, and leave it to our ignorance to blame each other and those that are different from us, even without checking out any of the links provided above.